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Making Square Holes


Will Seagraves knows about scratchbuilding. He can look at a complex object, break it down into simple shapes, build those shapes in scale, and put them together in a way that looks – and usually works – like the real thing. 

“When I built my Rollback Wrecker, I needed to make identical square holes in four flat brackets that support the wrecker’s wheel lift cylinders. A crossmember made from 532" square brass tubing needed to slip snugly through the brackets, so they had to be perfect. I made the four brackets and marked the centers where the square holes needed to be, then carefully drilled 532" holes in each one – but the round holes needed to be square. My solution was to fabricate a simple punch, using the same square brass stock as the crossmember.

“I filed a bevel inside a piece of square tube, creating a sharp, square cutting edge. I then centered the punch on the hole, and whacked it with my trusty hammer. The sharp tubing cleanly punched away the square corners of the four round holes; and because the punch was the same size as the crossmember, only minor sanding was needed to finish off the parts. The punch easily lasted for four “whacks,” but if it splits at the corners and the cutting edge deforms, it can be easily restored with a pair of pliers.”


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